Vermont's Rifle Deer Season

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Vermont's traditional rifle deer season is November 11-26 this year, and hunters are optimistic due to the results of new regulations and an easy winter.

Deer numbers are up and older bucks with impressive antlers are being seen after Vermont enacted new regulations last year protecting yearling bucks and cutting back on antlerless deer hunting in the archery season. The new regulations are designed to keep more older bucks in the population and to stimulate an increase in deer numbers in selected Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).

Archery deer hunters had taken 93 percent more deer than last year during Vermont's October 7-29 archery season, according to reports received by the Fish & Wildlife Department on November 8. The department had received reports at their Rutland office of 1,794 deer being taken, compared to 931 on the same reporting day last year. Archery season reports will continue to come in for several weeks before results are finalized.

Success also was up during the November 4-5 youth hunting weekend with reports of 693 deer taken, compared to 422 deer on the same reporting day last year.

"Hunters are reporting seeing more mature bucks with good antlers and more deer than they have in years," said Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Wayne Laroche. "One of the easiest winters we have seen in years helped, but the new regulations are beginning to pay off. Last year's reduced deer kill was an investment for the future of deer hunting in Vermont, and hunters are already seeing rewards."

During the November rifle season, hunters may take one buck with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer anywhere in the state. A point must be one inch or longer from base to tip. The main beam counts as a point, regardless of length.

Wildlife biologists are asking hunters for help in aging deer by use postage-paid envelopes to send in the two front teeth from any deer they take. The teeth will be cross-sectioned and annual rings will be counted. The envelopes are available at deer reporting stations.

Vermont's deer population is estimated at 110,000 to 140,000 this year with the greatest numbers found in the southwest, southeast, east-central, and northwestern regions of the state.